Integrated circuit amplifiers for multi-electrode intracortical recording.
Jochum T., Denison T., Wolf P.
Significant progress has been made in systems that interpret the electrical signals of the brain in order to control an actuator. One version of these systems senses neuronal extracellular action potentials with an array of up to 100 miniature probes inserted into the cortex. The impedance of each probe is high, so environmental electrical noise is readily coupled to the neuronal signal. To minimize this noise, an amplifier is placed close to each probe. Thus, the need has arisen for many amplifiers to be placed near the cortex. Commercially available integrated circuits do not satisfy the area, power and noise requirements of this application, so researchers have designed custom integrated-circuit amplifiers. This paper presents a comprehensive survey of the neural amplifiers described in publications prior to 2008. Methods to achieve high input impedance, low noise and a large time-constant high-pass filter are reviewed. A tutorial on the biological, electrochemical, mechanical and electromagnetic phenomena that influence amplifier design is provided. Areas for additional research, including sub-nanoampere electrolysis and chronic cortical heating, are discussed. Unresolved design concerns, including teraohm circuitry, electrical overstress and component failure, are identified.